It’s the first Monday in January. You have been sitting for the past two
hours in a cramped little waiting room at the doctor’s office.
The people crowding about you are wheezing and sniffling, murmuring
to each other in some Arabic tongue, or just sitting there with a deadfish
look in the eyes. You are here to get a blood test.
You are reading a free downloaded copy of Goethe’s autobiography
on Kindle, though not particularly enjoying it. The text is in English,
and seems rather dry and long-winded, despite the occasional gem.
The text is much like the three Van Gogh reproductions
on the walls. They sit in cheap, dusty frames,
and seem to have lost all color, not to mention the raw electricity
originally poured into them. It’s as if nothing, not even
the most dazzling art or literature, can survive this grumbling
little hellhole. It all just withers,
withers amid the stench of corns and armpits, of hydrogen sulphide,
of cleaning agents,
withers like dead flowers and the embalmed heart
of Louis the XVII.
Florescent light gutters overhead. The strange
droning sound that’s been going on all morning
persists. Mirth here is frowned upon,
the blackbird’s song is forbidden.
A man coughs into his hand, looks at you and wipes it on his trousers.